Radio Rum Jungle, TEABBA and how Aboriginal Student Radio lead to a big bruise on my hand in 2019


One of many murals on the old Radio Rum Jungle campus; Photo by Rafal Alumairy, Batchelor 2019

This mural was one of many in a place that had evidence of vibrancy and youth everywhere. The space of community radio seems to take on the spirit of its people. Why would you want to hang out anywhere else?

I was visiting the Batchelor Institute to research Radio Rum Jungle. On my lunch break I went for a walk, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a “RADIO” sign.

I exerted some effort to enter the closed grounds, which involved a robust metal gate falling on my hand and the discovery of some bat colonies. I’m really glad my hand took one for the team though because what I’d stumbled on is the abandoned old campus of Radio Rum Jungle.

Radio Rum Jungle is a pioneering Aboriginal radio station based in Batchelor NT (about 2 hrs out of Darwin).

It’s the same place where TEABBA or the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association began in the early 80s (a big community radio network now based in Darwin, it broadcasts to 29 remote communities in the Top End). Recently RRJ has returned to its home on TEABBA, Batchelor students are now taking over the broadcast all day every Thursday, YEEEESSSSS, tune in on the app or online!

I will have much more to say about this as my research develops, but the successes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in media are friggin amazing and an absolute pleasure to learn about.

I write on this topic as a non Indigenous person because it overlaps with my interest in youth radio, and its history is relevant to youth radio history. It’s unfortunate that no one has ever written a substantial history of RRJ before, but it’s an honour to contribute my research and I hope my modest contribution is a building block to a more thorough history by RRJ, its related communities, and its talented students and alumni.

….. I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK!!!!!!!!!